Experienced, Compassionate and Effective Advocacy

How do you share custody of a baby who is still breastfeeding?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2021 | Child Custody

Raising a child requires you to take on a lot of responsibilities whether you are staying together with your spouse or partner or not. Learning to care for a baby can be stressful during the early months when everything is new. While many parents work hard to stay together once their baby is born, if their relationship was troubled beforehand, caring for a new baby can tip the scales.

The thought of having to come up with a parenting plan that allows you to share custody of your baby may seem daunting. This may particularly be the case if they’re still breastfeeding. It is possible to come up with a plan that works, though.

Both parents should be around newborns

Child psychologists say that it’s usually critically important that a child has both their parents present in their lives. That’s why courts often award parents joint legal custody. The logistics involved in scheduling parenting time for a breastfeeding newborn are challenging for judges.

Moms may initially need to spend more custodial time with their baby. This might be a few months or the first year. Especially as a mom learns more about lactation, including supply issues, and gets to know her baby’s feeding schedule. It is critically important that a newborn gets enough nutrition to thrive and fluids to stay hydrated. 

Working around a breastfeeding schedule

The best situation may be if a co-parent can visit the baby at the breastfeeding mom’s house. Short visits while the newborn is alert work best and let the other parent become familiar with the newborn and can impress upon their child that they’re present in their life. During these short visits in the other parent’s home, a court may ask that you share diaper changing duties and putting the child to sleep. You two may want to broach the idea of longer visits away from the breastfeeding mother’s home as you each become more familiar with your child, feedings become more predictable or as the baby weans off breast milk.

Also, you may want to wait to address doing overnight visits until your baby is on a solid sleep schedule and until they can start taking a bottle. This will allow you to feed them while they’re not with their breastfeeding mother. Maintaining consistent schedules and routines between homes is important for the well being of your child.

When you have a newborn, child custody isn’t likely to function like it does when sharing custody with an older child. Caregiving, sleep schedules, feedings and many other details are involved that you’ll need to weigh when negotiating a parenting plan that best works for you and your child’s other parent.